An Adequate Supply of Teachers: The Future of the Agricultural Education Profession Is at Stake

Article excerpt

The sky is falling.... The sky is falling. Just as in the tale of "Chicken Little" there are exaggerations and truths in the title to this article. Research conducted by the American Association of Agricultural Educators (Kantrovich, 2010) has shown an overall nationwide shortage of agricultural education teachers. This shortage has been exacerbated by efforts to increase the number of agricultural education programs. These are the truths. The future of the profession is at stake, at least in the short run, is the exaggeration. Let's be clear on the wording: I said it was an exaggeration and not a false statement. One must remember that the profession cannot continue its current offerings, and possibly expand programs, on a dwindling supply of new teachers.

This issue is devoted to ways of attracting new individuals to the profession and, once they are in the field, keeping them there. Current agricultural education teachers have a major role to play in both the recruitment of new teachers and making certain that new teachers are successful and remain in the profession.

Identifying Potential Teachers

All agricultural education teachers must ask: Am I encouraging my best students to following in my footsteps? Good teachers have a tremendous influence on their students. I am where I am today because of my high school agricultural education teachers. Identify your best students and encourage them to follow in your footsteps. Before you can honestly encourage someone to follow in your footsteps you must ask yourself if you are successfully balancing your professional career and your personal life. Are you devoting numerous hours to your students at the sacrifice of your family? If you have not achieved that balance it will be hard to recommend "your" profession to others because the students will see through the façade. "For I know the joys and discomforts of . . ." Be honest with the students as you encourage them to enter the profession. Let them observe the "highs" and "lows" of the profession.

Encourage New Graduates

Studies have shown that between 25 and 50 percent of graduates who are certified, never enter the profession. First we must understand the reasons these students fail to enter the profession. …